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It is our responsibility to respect and uphold all mother languages: Biplab Deb

The chief minister was speaking at an event organised by the Bangladesh Assistant High Commission and state government to observe the International Mother Language on Saturday.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala | Updated: February 21, 2020 5:12:21 pm
International Mother Language Day, International Mother Language Day Tripura, Tripura International Mother Language Day, Tripura news, Indian Express The state government honoured three people from the near-extinct Chaimaar ethno-linguistic group, who are the last speakers of the language. (Twitter/Biplab Kumar Deb)

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Saturday urged the people of the state to “respect and uphold” all the mother languages and said that his government is working to ensure that all the languages are equally honoured and developed in the state.

Speaking at an event organised by the Bangladesh Assistant High Commission and state government to observe the International Mother Language on Saturday, Deb said, “It is our responsibility to respect and uphold all mother languages; this is the spirit of this day. Mother language is the most important thing required for personal development apart from riches, good proteinous food, and other things. Our own languages can provide us peace alone”.

The event, which was held in Agartala, saw a colourful rally headed with tableaus and resonating stories of Bangladesh Liberation War and the ensuing recognition of International Mother Language Day.  Diplomats of the Visa Office and Assistant High Commission paid floral tributes to the martyrs of language movement who lost their lives to the Pakistan Army on the streets of Dhaka of present-day Bangladesh in 1952.

The chief minister also said that Indians had learnt English only after it was imposed on them by the British colonial rulers.

“British have ruled the world for long. French, Spanish, English are popular because they have colonized the world. But PM Modi has set a standard by carrying his mother language,” the chief minister said.

“If the British didn’t rule for 200 years, how many Indians could speak English? Didn’t we have languages or scripts before that? English and foreign languages were imposed on us due to imperialism and everyone knows that no race can be developed by imposition. British imposed their language to impede our development,” he added.

Bangladesh Parliamentarian Md. Abdus Shahid, who joined the event, paid respects to the Language martyrs who laid down their lives protesting the imposition of Urdu on East Pakistan and the millions killed in their struggle for independent Bangladesh nation.

Speaking on Indo-Bangla relations, Shahid said the relationship between the two neighbours have reached its peak and is still growing.

“Relations between India and Bangladesh, especially Tripura, is at its peak. Our relations are still growing. We have achieved historic achievements like the Land Border Agreement and many other understandings. We believe problems between us can be solved by discussion and no third party is required in this process”, he added.

The state government honoured three people from the near-extinct Chaimaar ethno-linguistic group, who are the last speakers of the language. Chaimaar is a tribal clan in the Halam community and one of Tripura’s 19 recognized indigenous communities.

“Our government’s main target is to make sure not even a single language gets extinct. We have felicitated three persons from the family of Lalrilsem Halam who speak Chaimaar, the last speakers of this language as a sign of our commitment to develop all the languages”, said Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath.

“We have also recognized Kokborok (lingua franca of Tripura tribals) along with Bengali and are working to develop this language. We are also working to develop Chakma, Reang and other languages. It is birth-right of a child to speak the language learned from mother,” he said.

International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by UNESCO in 1999. It is observed every year to promote linguistic, cultural diversity and multilingualism since February, 2000.

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